How A Jewish Man & Professor’s Son From Volgograd, Nicknamed “Goldfish,” Joined IS

Local media in Russia are reporting that the passport of a Russian militant, Andrey Karasik, has been found in Syria in areas liberated from IS by Kurdish militias. The suggestion is that Karasik and his wife and two children, also Russian converts, have been killed — though this is not proven. Continue reading How A Jewish Man & Professor’s Son From Volgograd, Nicknamed “Goldfish,” Joined IS

Imagining Imarat Kavkaz: The Poetry Of Jihad In The North Caucasus

I have written several pieces about how North Caucasian militants in Syria have used poetry to express emotions and share ideas.

However, North Caucasian jihadi poetry did not emerge in Syria, nor are all of the poems shared by North Caucasian militants in Syria (and their supporters in the Russian Federation) new and/or written by those fighting in Syria. Continue reading Imagining Imarat Kavkaz: The Poetry Of Jihad In The North Caucasus

Who Was Abu Aisha Kazakhi, The Kazakh IS Militant Killed In Palmyra?

A few days ago, the news broke on IS social media that Abu Aisha Kazakhi, an IS militant from Kazakhstan, had been killed. Here are some of the facts I have gleaned about Abu Aisha in my several months of tracking him. Continue reading Who Was Abu Aisha Kazakhi, The Kazakh IS Militant Killed In Palmyra?

An Note On How IS Chechens Use Said Buryatsky In Mythmaking

Said Buryatsky, a.k.a. Said Abu Saad, continues to be an important and influential figure in North Caucasian jihad circles, even after his death in 2010. Buryatsky is frequently mentioned by various North Caucasian groups in Syria — including North Caucasian factions in the Islamic State (IS) group, who employ his words and image often including as part of their attempts to legitimize their movement as a natural successor to the Caucasus Emirate. Continue reading An Note On How IS Chechens Use Said Buryatsky In Mythmaking

‘Igishata’ vs. ‘Imaratovsty’: The Caucasus Emirate, Poetry & Fitna

A major theme in pro-Caucasus Emirate (IK) online groups — which still exist in the plural despite the erosion of IK in the North Caucasus and more recent upheavals in Syria — is a condemnation of the Islamic State (IS) group, a trend that has grown in momentum over the past year. I take a quick look at how this evolved, and share a Caucasus Emirate poem slamming IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Continue reading ‘Igishata’ vs. ‘Imaratovsty’: The Caucasus Emirate, Poetry & Fitna

“Umar from the Caucasus” is Emir of Nusra’s Liwa Al-Muhajireen Wal-Ansar

Liwa al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar (LMA), a predominantly Russian-speaking jamaat within Al-Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra (JAN) is led by “Umar from the Caucasus, “aka Umar al-Dagestani. Continue reading “Umar from the Caucasus” is Emir of Nusra’s Liwa Al-Muhajireen Wal-Ansar

Arabic-speaking Katiba Guraba fighting under auspices of IK v Shame in south Aleppo

The Caucasus Emirate (Imarat Kavkaz, IK) website Kavkaz Center has published a video showing a small group of 16 militants holding the IK v Shame (IK in Syria) banner and claiming to be preparing to fight alongside Jund al-Aqsa and Jabhat al-Nusra in the southern countryside of Aleppo. Continue reading Arabic-speaking Katiba Guraba fighting under auspices of IK v Shame in south Aleppo

UPDATED: Seiful Islam Shishani of Jaish Usro killed in Sheikh Maqsoud, Aleppo

Chechen militant Seiful Islam Shishani, a close associate of Salakhuddin Shishani, has been killed in clashes in Sheikh Maqsoud, a majority Kurdish neighborhood in northern Aleppo. Continue reading UPDATED: Seiful Islam Shishani of Jaish Usro killed in Sheikh Maqsoud, Aleppo

Chechen-led Jaish al-Usrah fighting Kurds in Sheikh Maqsood

The Chechen-led (though mostly Syrian) group Jaish al-Usrah (JU) is involved in fighting against Kurds in a Kurdish-held neighborhood of Sheikh Maqsood in Aleppo. Heavy clashes were reported in Sheikh Maqsood in the north of Aleppo city on Feb. 19. Continue reading Chechen-led Jaish al-Usrah fighting Kurds in Sheikh Maqsood